Expected Grace

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                     May, 27, 2018

                                       

It’s only a logo!

A local high school swim team lost the state championship because of a logo that was too big!

The logo was about twice the size of what a legally-sized logo is to be. The coach of the team filed a protest, not about the logo size, but because a swim referee had inadvertently placed the relay team that the swimmer was on in the finals of the event. The disqualification had come in a preliminary heat. The relay team’s time in the preliminary heat was the best qualifying time of all the teams competing. If they had competed in the relay final (legally) they would have won the state championship by placing eighth or higher.

A Colorado High School Activities Association official said that the swimsuit guidelines were stated at the coach’s meeting before any of the competition began. The guidelines were not new. They had been in effect all season. Swimmers who had suits that might be illegal were invited to bring them to the meet officials for determining their status. Four swimmers did, but not the swimmer from the relay team that was disqualified.

When I officiated high school basketball we were charged with not allowing players to “roll their shorts.” The players knew the rule and the coaches knew the rule, but there always seemed to be a few who tried to roll their shorts anyway. As a basketball coach I’m charged with making sure my players are in compliance of the same uniform rule, although a couple of 7th Grade players on one of my teams this past year were rolling their shorts because their height made the shorts look like pants. 

Rules are important in sports. Although not always understood, their purpose is to help provide a level playing field and keep the focus on the game, not the things that detract from it.

Rules are meant to make clear what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Grace is not a part of a sport’s laws. It does not come into play when a violation in an athletic contest takes place.

And there lies the problem! Not with the rules or the sport, but with people’s expectation of there being grace. There’s a certain attitude that gets conveyed many times by parents, athletes, and coaches that errors are to be overlooked. That grace is expected, not hoped for! Such an understanding of what grace is pollutes its specialness, its uniqueness. For grace to be grace it must come unexpectedly. It must be surprising. 

In sports the absence of rules promotes chaos, and the expectation of grace results in a widening ring of indifference towards what those rules are meant to enforce. 

It’s only a logo!

Yes, it is! It is only a logo that could have easily been changed out for another swim suit that was legal. 

Explore posts in the same categories: Bible, children, Christianity, coaching, Freedom, Grace, Parenting, Story, Teamwork, The Church, Uncategorized, Youth

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